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Dec 4, 2021

Axios Deep Dives

Good afternoon. Welcome to an Axios Visuals Deep Dive on the future of food, led by editorial design editor Sarah Grillo, data visualization editor Danielle Alberti and standards editor Eileen Drage O'Reilly.

Smart Brevity™ count: 399 words ... 1.5 minutes.

1 big thing: Pandemic eating

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A food revolution began pre-pandemic, partly due to a culture war inspired by climate change.

  • COVID — with its supply chain issues, social distancing, worker shortages, even the loss of smell and taste — accelerated all that.

America's food industry is transforming, from farm to your table.

2. 🌽 Maize of disruptions
Data: National Corn Growers Association, Axios research. Infographic: Alli Torban/Axios

Corn-supply interruptions include worker shortages, unpredictable ethanol demand and machinery scarcity, Axios' Alli Torban reports.

The bottom line: These disruptions add up, triggering gyrating costs for corn, a foundation of the food supply — both as feedstock and table staple.

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3. 👩‍🍳 Missing millions
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Rising pay isn't bringing in enough restaurant workers, adding to the strain on current employees, Axios' Jared Whalen and Sarah Grillo write.

A survey of 4,700+ former, current and aspiring restaurant workers found many employees aren't leaving the workforce — just restaurants.

Dig deeper with our interactive chart

4. 🚴🏾 Axios game: Delivery life

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The pandemic created a surge in demand for food delivery services, with such speed that regulations protecting workers haven't kept up — making those jobs more dangerous, per a report.

🎰 Play an Axios game — created by Axios' Jacque Schrag, Maura Losch and Aïda Amer — to experience delivery life.

Image: Jacque Schrag, Maura Losch, Aïda Amer/Axios

Play the interactive game

5. 🤖 Farm-to-table robots

Don't be surprised if you cross paths with a robot while shopping and dining, Axios' Allie Carl and Brendan Lynch report.

Illustration: Allie Carl and Brendan Lynch/Axios

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6. 🍔 Your burger is heating Earth
Data: Poore and Nemecek (2018), FDA, UN's IPCC. Note: Dairy cattle is beef from dairy cattle. Chart: Shoshana Gordon and Thomas Oide/Axios

Climate change is ratcheting up pressure to alter how we grow and consume food, Axios' Shoshana Gordon and Thomas Oide report.

Threat level: Our food chain generates a large chunk of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from animal products, climate scientists say.

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7. 🍟 1 fun thing: Our cravings
Data: Uber Eats; Graphic: Annelise Capossela, Allie Carl and Will Chase/Axios

French fries may be the most popular — but, are you craving prosciutto with a side of pickles? How about watermelon with a squeeze of mustard?

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Special thanks to the entire visuals team including data journalist Kavyah Beheraj and copy editor Amy Stern.